Daily Archives: January 10, 2020

January—10 The Poor Man’s Evening Portion

Whose I am, and whom I serve.—Acts 27:23.

Here is a delightful subject for an evening meditation, if, like the Apostle, who thus expressed himself, a child of God can take up the same words, and from the same well-grounded authority. Paul was in the midst of a storm, with not only the prospect, but the certainty of shipwreck before him, when he thus reposed himself in his covenant relations. An angel had informed him of what would happen; and had bidden him to be of good courage. But Paul’s chief confidence arose from the consideration of whose property he was, and whose service he was engaged in. See to it, my soul, that thy assurance be the same; and thy security in every dark night will be the same also. For if thou art Jesus’s property, depend upon it thou wilt be Jesus’s care. Hath Jesus bought thee with his blood; made thee his by grace; and hast thou voluntarily given up thyself to him in a covenant not to be broken? Hath the Lord spoken to thee by the sweet voice of his word, brought home to the heart in the gracious application of his Spirit? Doth he say to thee, as to Jacob of old: “Fear not, for I have redeemed thee; I have called thee by thy name, thou art mine?” Oh! then, how sure will be the promise that follows: “When thou passest through the waters I will be with thee, and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire thou shalt not be burned, neither shall the flame kindle upon thee: for I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour.” If in a view of covenant relationship, thou canst say with Paul concerning Jesus, whose I am; do thou next search after the love-tokens of thine own heart, in covenant engagements also, and see whether thou canst adopt Paul’s language in the other particular, and say, as he did, whom I serve. Is Jesus the only object of thy love? Did he give himself for thee; and hath he by his Holy Spirit enabled thee to give thyself unto him? Hast thou given thyself to him, and given thyself for him, and art thou willing to part with every thing for the promotion of his glory? Depend upon it, the real confidence of the soul can only be found in faith’s enjoyment of these things. My soul! drop not into the arms of sleep before thou hast brought this point to a decision. No storm of the night, no tempest without, will alarm, while Jesus, by his Holy Spirit, speaks peace within. If Jesus be thine, then all is thine; and as thou art his, every promise is made over to thee with him, whose thou art, and whom thou dost serve. Sweet promise to lie down with on the bed of night, or the bed of death: “My people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting-places.”—Isaiah 32:18.[1]


[1] Hawker, R. (1845). The Poor Man’s Evening Portion (A New Edition, pp. 11–12). Philadelphia: Thomas Wardle.

January 10 Streams in the Desert

They were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia.” (Acts 16:6.)

IT is interesting to study the methods of His guidance as it was extended towards these early heralds of the Cross. It consisted largely in prohibitions, when they attempted to take another course than the right. When they would turn to the left, to Asia, He stayed them. When they sought to turn to the right, to Bithynia, again He stayed them. In after years Paul would do some of the greatest work of his life in that very region; but just now the door was closed against him by the Holy Spirit. The time was not yet ripe for the attack on these apparently impregnable bastions of the kingdom of Satan. Apollos must come there for pioneer work. Paul and Barnabas are needed yet more urgently elsewhere, and must receive further training before undertaking this responsible task.

Beloved, whenever you are doubtful as to your course, submit your judgment absolutely to the Spirit of God, and ask Him to shut against you every door but the right one. Say,

“Blessed Spirit, I cast on Thee the entire responsibility of closing against my steps any and every course which is not of God. Let me hear Thy voice behind me whenever I turn to the right hand or the left”

In the meanwhile, continue along the path which you have been already treading. Abide in the calling in which you are called, unless you are clearly told to do something else. The Spirit of Jesus waits to be to you, O pilgrim, what He was to Paul. Only be careful to obey His least prohibition; and where, after believing prayer, there are no apparent hindrances, go forward with enlarged heart. Do not be surprised if the answer comes in closed doors. But when doors are shut right and left, an open road is sure to lead to Troas. There Luke awaits, and visions will point the way, where vast opportunities stand open, and faithful friends are waiting.—Paul, by Meyer.

Is there some problem in your life to solve,

Some passage seeming full of mystery?

God knows, who brings the hidden things to light.

He keeps the key.

Is there some door closed by the Father’s hand

Which widely opened you had hoped to see?

Trust God and wait—for when He shuts the door

He keeps the key.

Is there some earnest prayer unanswered yet,

Or answered not as you had thought ’twould be?

God will make clear His purpose by-and-by.

He keeps the key.

Have patience with your God, your patient God,

All wise, all knowing, no long tarrier He,

And of the door of all thy future life

He keeps the key.

Unfailing comfort, sweet and blessed rest,

To know of every door He keeps the key.

That He at last when just he sees ’tis best,

Will give it thee.



[1] Cowman, L. B. (1925). Streams in the Desert (pp. 10–11). Los Angeles, CA: The Oriental Missionary Society.

10 Jan 2020 – Rapture Ready News

Footage seems to show Iran shooting down plane with Russian-made missile
A Ukrainian airliner that crashed in Iran, killing all 176 people aboard, seems to have been shot down by Iran with a Russian-made missile, a US official said… They additionally aired footage of what seems to be missiles hitting the airplane. It was likely brought down by an Iranian missile, Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, said on Thursday, citing intelligence from Canadian and other sources.

Iran wants to handle black box data after plane crash blamed on missile
Iran said on Friday it wanted to download black box recordings itself from a Ukrainian airliner that crashed, killing all 176 people aboard, after Canada and others said the plane was brought down by an Iranian missile, probably by mistake. According to news agency Irina, the boxes will be ‘opened’ on January 10.

Israel breaks 50-year record for most rainfall in North, 76 years in South
Israel broke a more than 50-year record for the highest amount of rainfall in northern Israel on Thursday, according to the Israel Meteorological Service, as the heavy rains that have swept the nation over the last two weeks are expected to continue through Friday. Emergency services remain on high alert across the country…

Kashmir: India top court orders review of longest internet shutdown
India’s Supreme Court has given the government a week to review its suspension of internet services in Indian-administered Kashmir. The region has not had access to the internet for more than 150 days, India’s longest such shutdown. The government suspended internet, mobile phone and landline services in Kashmir before stripping it of partial autonomy on 5 August.

Hong Kong PTSD level ‘comparable to conflict zones’, study finds
Around a third of adults in Hong Kong reported symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) during the often-violent pro-democracy protests, according to a new study. The number was six times higher than four years ago, the University of Hong Kong study found. Levels of depression are reportedly comparable to those in conflict zones.

Brexit: MPs give final backing to Withdrawal Agreement Bill
MPs have given their final backing to the bill that will implement the UK government’s Brexit deal. The Commons voted 330 to 231 in favour of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill and it will now pass to the House of Lords for further scrutiny next week. If peers choose to amend it will it come back before MPs.

Iran crisis: Commander says more air strikes were planned against US
Strikes against US forces in Iraq could have been just the beginning of a major operation across the region if the US had responded, a senior Iranian commander is reported as saying. Quoted by state TV, Amir Ali Hajizadeh said the only fitting revenge for Gen Qasem Soleimani’s killing by the US was to drive US forces from the region.

Fearing nuclear proliferation, Europe scrambles to calm Iran tensions
Europe will look on Friday for ways to guide the United States and Iran away from open conflict, knowing that a miscalculation from either side could leave the bloc facing a war and a serious nuclear proliferation crisis at its doorstep.

Suspected Islamists kill 25 soldiers in Niger: government
Suspected Islamist militants killed 25 soldiers and wounded six others in an attack on an army post in west Niger near its border with Mali on Thursday, the government said. It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the attack on the post at Chinagodrar, about 130 miles (209 km) north of the capital Niamey.

U.S. senators back bill to provide $3.3 billion for Israel
Republican and Democratic U.S. senators introduced legislation on Thursday to provide $3.3 billion in annual aid to Israel, seeking to put into law an aid agreement between the two countries reached in 2016 amid concern over rising Middle East tensions. Republican Senator Marco Rubio and Democratic Senator Chris Coons co-sponsored the bill, a standalone provision of a broader measure that stalled a year ago.

Source: 10 Jan 2020

January 10, 2020 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)


President Donald Trump made the killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani a theme of his re-election campaign on Thursday, drawing cheers from thousands at a rally when he said the death saved lives and delivered “American justice.”

Flights to Tehran were canceled on Thursday and Friday after Canada and others said an Iranian missile brought down a Ukrainian airliner, probably by mistake. Tehran denied a missile took down the plane.

Germany’s flagship carrier Lufthansa said on Friday that its group airlines were cancelling flights to and from Tehran until Jan. 20 inclusive due to the uncertain security situation of the airspace around the Iranian capital.

Iraq’s top Shi’ite Muslim cleric on Friday condemned the U.S.-Iranian confrontation taking place on Iraqi soil, saying it risked plunging the war-ravaged country and the wider Middle East into deeper conflict.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will go ahead with a planned trip to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Oman from the weekend despite heightened tensions in the Middle East, while Tokyo also dispatched a warship and patrol planes to the region.

Australia urged nearly a quarter of a million people to evacuate their homes on Friday and prepared military backup as authorities said the next few hours could be “very, very challenging” even as rain poured down in some parts.

Europe will look on Friday for ways to guide the United States and Iran away from open conflict, knowing that a miscalculation from either side could leave the bloc facing a war and a serious nuclear proliferation crisis at its doorstep.

U.S. job growth slowed more than expected in December, but the pace of hiring likely remains sufficient to keep the longest economic expansion in history on track despite a deepening downturn in a manufacturing sector stung by trade disputes.

The idea of imposing a wealth tax on the richest Americans has elicited sharply divergent views across a spectrum of politicians, with President Donald Trump branding it socialist and progressive Democratic presidential contenders Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders prominently endorsing it.

A new scientific analysis of a large gold bar found decades ago in downtown Mexico City reveals it was part of the plunder Spanish conquerors tried to carry away as they fled the Aztec capital after native warriors forced a hasty retreat.

AP Top Stories

U.S. and Canadian officials say it is “highly likely” that an anti-aircraft missile strike caused the crash of a Ukraine International Airlines operated Boeing 737 in Iran on Wednesday, which killed all 176 people on board.

An Oregon woman is suing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for $9.54 million after her husband’s confession to church leaders led to his arrest, conviction and imprisonment on child sexual abuse charges.

Mexican authorities on Tuesday removed almost 100 Mexican migrants seeking asylum in the United States from a camp in Ciudad Juarez, across the border from El Paso, Texas, after state police threatened to separate parents from their children.

The Israeli defense ministry has hailed a “breakthrough” in the development of cheaper laser-based air defenses, as tensions soar in the region after Iran hit US targets in retaliation for a high-profile assassination. The lasers, still under development, would be capable of intercepting “everything” fired at Israel, including long and medium range missiles, rockets, mortar rounds and drones.

The United States has approved the sale of up to 12 F-35 fighter jets — one of the most advanced warplanes ever built — to Singapore for around $2.75 billion, officials said.

US President Donald Trump wished North Korea’s Kim Jong Un a happy birthday.


Hungary will provide free in-vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment to couples at state-run clinics, Prime Minister Viktor Orban announced. Mr. Orban has long advocated a “procreation over immigration” approach to deal with demographic decline.

Mexico’s Popocatépetl volcano erupted on Thursday with a dramatic show of lava and a cloud of ash and rocks that reached 9,800ft into the sky.

Brazil’s Supreme Court has overturned a ruling that TV streaming service Netflix must remove a film depicting Jesus as gay.

Ethiopia hopes the Firearm Administration and Control proclamation, passed into law by the country’s upper house of parliament on Thursday, will help curb insecurity in the country. The new law limits the number of guns an individual can possess to one and prohibits the selling and transferring of a weapon to a third party.


Authorities along the U.S. border are on alert after receiving a law enforcement intelligence warning about a possible suicide bomber heading north toward the U.S.-Mexico Border.

California would become the first state to contract with generic-drug manufacturers to make prescription medicines to sell to residents, under a plan by Gov. Gavin Newsom that aims to control rising health costs.

Mid-Day Snapshot · Jan. 10, 2020

The Foundation

“National defense is one of the cardinal duties of a statesman.” —John Adams (1815)

Leftists Blame Trump for Iran Shooting Down Airliner

To deranged Democrats and media pundits, the president is always Enemy No. 1.

McConnell Puts Pelosi on the Clock

The Senate leader backs a resolution that would soon dismiss articles of impeachment.

Trump Targets ‘Outrageously Slow’ Environmental Reviews

Delaying infrastructure projects for a decade is no way to approach the 21st century.

Blue States Will Lose Power in 2020

New York, California, and others are losing people — and thus voters, power, and money.

Greta Thunberg Is a Victim

She’s a teenage puppet for leftist alarmists who want to increase government control.

Democrats Rush to Defend America?

Hardly. When Trump took out a terrorist, leftists loudly complained about his action.

Video: Dems Say Soleimani ‘Was a Murderer and Terrorist BUT’

A montage of Democrats getting the inconvenient truth out of the way before arguing.

Video: Medal of Honor Recipient Talks American Strength

“The threats to our nation — they don’t sleep. They’re watching our every move.”

Today’s Opinion

Rich Lowry
Neither Neocon Nor Isolationist
Erick Erickson
The Obama Administration’s Guerrilla War
David Limbaugh
Pelosi’s Democrats Threaten Democracy in the Name of Protecting It
David Harsanyi
Pelosi’s Embarrassing Impeachment Blunder
L. Brent Bozell & Tim Graham
Hollywood Gets an Education
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.

Friday Top News Executive Summary

War Powers Resolution, Iran downs airplane, environmental-law changes, and more.

Friday Short Cuts

Notable quotables from Mike Lee, Chris Matthews, Mitch McConnell, and more.

Today’s Meme

For more of today’s memes, visit the Memesters Union.

Today’s Cartoon

For more of today’s cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.

Headlines – 1/10/2020

Europe’s Jewish population could vanish due to anti-Semitism, says Jewish leader

Netherlands Rally Protesting Soleimani Assassination Sparks anti-Semitic Sentiments

Civil Rights Complaint Accuses Georgia Tech of Failing to ‘Confront Antisemitism, Protect Rights of Jewish Students and Faculty’

Swastika reportedly drawn on head of Toronto man with Alzheimer’s

Rise in anti-Semitic attacks prompts DHS review of security for religious institutions

Spotify says it’s removing playlists that glorify Hitler, urge gassing of Jews

Ruling expected Sunday on whether Netanyahu’s immunity can be decided pre-election

Elections remain elusive for Palestinians, as Abbas searches for pretexts to postpone them

IDF gives home demolition notice to families of 3 suspected West Bank terrorists

Historical ‘Jewish presence’ key to Israel’s territorial claims, US envoy says

US senators introduce bill to provide $3.3 billion to Israel

Trump floats expanding NATO to add Middle East

Biggest ‘black swan’ event for oil markets is disruption in the Strait of Hormuz, expert says

Report: Warplanes target weapons shipment on Iraq-Syria border – Israel accused of carrying out attack

Israel releases Syrian spy, Golan ambulance attacker, in goodwill gesture

Russia says ceasefire established in Syria’s Idlib: Report

Michigan imam eulogizes Soleimani for backing Syria against US, ‘Zionists’

Iran military commander appears in front of proxy flags on state TV

Soleimani’s Replacement Says Iran Will ‘Continue the Course’ Set Out by the Killed General

Iran army chief threatens more severe revenge on US soon

Iranian missile commander claims strikes were ‘start of big operations’

Iran vows additional strikes, says it can kill 5,000 US troops

Rocket explodes near Iraqi base housing US troops

Iraq is a costly burden for Trump, but troops withdrawal would constitute a direct threat to Gulf allies, compelling them to seek another sponsor – such as Russia

Trump says new Iran sanctions have come into effect

House passes measure seeking to limit Trump’s military actions against Iran

Security Council says committed to ‘international law’ as US-Iran tensions flare

Nervous Saudis try to ease Middle East tensions

Saudi Arabia condemns Iran violation of Iraqi sovereignty

Soleimani wanted to ‘blow up’ U.S. Embassy in Iraq: Trump

Network of Syrian, Iraqi spies said to have helped US kill Soleimani

Florida guard accused of threatening to kill Trump to avenge Soleimani

Republicans mock Ilhan Omar for saying Iran war talk sparked PTSD

College fires professor for joking on Facebook that Iran should make a list of U.S. targets to bomb

Celebrating Soleimani killing, Trump says Democrats would have leaked strike

US killing of Qasem Soleimani is good news for IS jihadists

EU council chief says he urged Rouhani to bring Iran back to nuclear deal

France brushes aside Trump’s call to exit Iran nuclear deal

Pompeo responds to John Kerry on Iran: ‘It’s a fantasy to think that the nuclear deal was good for the United States’

Video appears to show missile hitting Ukrainian plane near Tehran

Iran crash: plane shot down by accident, western officials believe

Iran plane crash: Trudeau believes that missile downed jet

Trudeau cites ‘multiple’ intel sources that Iran downed jet

Justin Trudeau: Canada ‘will not rest’ until it gets answers about plane crash

Johnson backs missile theory in Iran plane crash as UK death toll rises

Ukraine wants to search Iran plane crash site for possible Russia missile debris

France says it will take part in Iran air crash investigation

Iran denies Ukrainian plane was hit by missile

Iran reportedly invites Boeing to help investigate crash, blames US for ‘psychological operation’

U.S. Issued No-Fly Order Over Iran, Iraq Hours Before Ukrainian Plane Downed

Iran in ‘shock’ as female Olympic medalist appears to flee country

63 ‘terrorists’, 25 others killed in Niger army base attack: Defense ministry

Russia: Putin Oversees Hypersonic Missile Test in Crimea

UK MPs finally approve Brexit bill, clearing way to leave EU at end of month

Royal pain: UK monarchy scrambles after Harry, Meghan bombshell

Money-Losing Companies Mushroom Even as Stocks Hit New Highs

McConnell backs measure to change Senate rules, dismiss impeachment without articles

Senate Democrats begin breaking with Nancy Pelosi on articles of impeachment

Pelosi to ‘soon’ send impeachment articles for Senate trial

President Trump Thanks Christian Voters for Their Support: “I May Not be Perfect, But I Get Things Done”

Anti-Trump Republicans mock evangelical supporters with ‘MAGA Church’ ad

‘Send Nudes’ road sign in Kentucky was a result of hacking, officials say

‘Devil horns’ eclipse over Middle East on December 26th causing social media stir

Trump stays publicly silent on Puerto Rican earthquakes but has signed emergency declaration

A mega-swarm of Biblical proportion: Yesterday’s mag 6.5 in Puerto Rico was only 1 of 4,000 quakes in the area since January 2019 and almost 1,000 since Dec 28th

5.4 magnitude earthquake hits near Visokoi Island, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Ohonua, Tonga

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Tobelo, Indonesia

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Angoram, Papua New Guinea

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Chukotskiy Avtonomnyy Okrug, Russia

Popocateptl volcano in Mexico erupts to 30,000ft

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 28,000ft

Sangay volcano in Ecuador erupts to 22,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 17,000ft

Torrential rains in northern Israel break 51-year record

Making waves: Israelis surf the streets after torrential rain

Dams in Cyprus overflow in all-time record

Winter ‘heat wave’ to bring record-challenging warmth to large portion of eastern US

Australians protest over climate change policy as bushfires rage

Australia’s wildfire crisis faces a new foe: Misinformation

NJ vaccine bill eliminating religion as student exemption is likely to advance after Senate deal: reports

Women with transplanted uterus gives birth to ‘miracle’ baby

Planned Parenthood Performs 81 Abortions for every 1 Adoption Referral, Data Shows

A high school football player who killed his pregnant schoolmate has been sentenced to 65 years in prison. He says she waited too long for an abortion

Apostasy Watch

Mike Ratliff – Be Filled by the Spirit

Francis Chan Rejects Protestant View of Communion, Embraces Catholic Transubstantiation

‘Only Saved People Can Love Trump’ says Jim Bakker

Chicago pastor charged with bilking federal program to feed needy kids, spending $142,000 on a Bentley for himself

Environmentalists Want To Take Your Food, Your Home, And Your Children

Canada Touts How ‘Assisted Suicide’ Is Providing Human Spare Parts. So Hurry Up and Die, Already

7 Abortionists and 550 Abortion Clinic Employees Have Quit Their Jobs in the Last 7 Years

NOT in Egypt! Muslims Burn Down Christian Homes Because They Dared Pray Together on Christmas Eve

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“A simple layman armed with Scripture is to be believed above a pope or a council without it…” – Martin Luther

January 10th The D. L. Moody Year Book

If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.—Psalm 66:18.

I SOMETIMES tremble when I hear people quote promises, and say that God is bound to fulfill those promises to them, when all the time there is some sin in their lives they are not willing to give up. It is well for us to search our hearts, and find out why it is that our prayers are not answered.[1]


[1] Moody, D. L. (1900). The D. L. Moody Year Book: A Living Daily Message from the Words of D. L. Moody. (E. M. Fitt, Ed.) (p. 13). East Northfield, MA: The Bookstore.

January 10, 2020 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

Self-Denial (10:43–45)

Continuing His lesson, Jesus contrasted the worldly, self-promoting path to greatness with true greatness in God’s kingdom. He told the apostles, “But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all.” Paradoxically, the path to greatness in the kingdom lies in humble self-denial; in being a servant and a slave of all.

The desire to be honored in the kingdom is a noble desire. Paul wrote, “Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him” (2 Cor. 5:9). To that end he “discipline[d his] body and [made] it [his] slave, so that, after [he had] preached to others, [he would] not be disqualified” (1 Cor. 9:27). Nearing the end of his life, he penned,

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing. (2 Tim. 4:7)

The apostle John cautioned believers, “Watch yourselves, that you do not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward” (2 John 8). “Behold, I am coming quickly,” Jesus declared, “and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done” (Rev. 22:12).

But the road to that greatness in the kingdom lies in selfless service. Diakonos (servant) literally refers to those who waited on tables (it is so used in John 2:5, 9). Doulos, though frequently translated “servant” in English Bibles, actually means slave (cf. John MacArthur, Slave [Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2010]). The Lord’s point is that believers are to consider everyone their master, and themselves slaves to serve all.

The perfect example of such humble service is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of Man. Unlike the world’s leaders, He did not come to be served, but to serve; not merely to be Lord and Master but also to be a slave of His Father and do His will (John 4:34; 17:4), and to serve sinners by the sacrifice of Himself. As noted earlier, the most profound illustration of Christ’s humble service and obedience to the Father is His death (Phil. 2:5–8), when He gave His life a ransom (lutron; the price paid for the release of a slave) for many. Having made the greatest sacrifice, Jesus received the greatest honor:

For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phil. 2:9–11)

In His vicarious, substitutionary death on behalf of sinners, He gave His life to pay to God in full the price of sin for all the people who would ever be saved throughout history. Christ’s death propitiated God’s wrath and fulfilled the demands of His justice for the elect, the redeemed. The one sacrifice of the Son of Man paid the ransom for the many who believe (Rom. 5:12–21; 1 Tim. 2:6; 1 Peter 2:24).[1]

43–44 But among true followers of Jesus a very different model applies. The Greek uses a present tense here: “It is [estin] not so with you.” As Edwards, 325, notes, “Verse 43a is thus not an admonition to behave in a certain way as much as a description of the way things actually are in the kingdom of God.” Among Jesus’ disciples, greatness is not achieved by asserting rank but by humble service (cf. 9:34–35). As Jesus’ description of the world’s standard of greatness was given in synonymous parallels (v. 42), so also is the description of true greatness in the kingdom of God: “Whoever wants to become great [megas] among you must be your servant [diakonos],” and “whoever wants to be first [prōtos] must be slave [doulos] of all” (vv. 43b–44). Diakonos commonly referred to one who waited tables, but the word could be used to designate any kind of servant or assistant. Doulos was a stronger term that denoted a slave, one solely committed or subject to another (BDAG, 259). The second clause, although parallel, intensifies the first. To be first exceeds mere greatness, and to be a slave is even lower than a servant. The effect is to drive home Jesus’ amazing paradox and to emphasize the upside-down values of the kingdom of God.[2]

41–44 The other ten disciples were indignant because they were jealous of their own dignity and fearful lest the two brothers should secure some advantage over them. Their insensitivity to the seriousness of the moment links them with James and John, and suggests the cruel loneliness with which Jesus faced the journey to Jerusalem. It also indicates the degree to which selfish ambition and rivalry were the raw material from which Jesus had to fashion the leadership for the incipient Church.

In seeking to impress the truth of Ch. 9:35 on the Twelve, Jesus contrasted the conduct of Gentile rulers with the submission to service and sacrifice which is appropriate to discipleship. It is probable that his most direct contact with the expression of power and authority by the petty rulers of Palestine and Syria and the great lords of Rome was through the coins which circulated in the land. To cite only two examples, the denarius that was used for paying taxes (cf. Ch. 12:16) portrayed Tiberius as the semi-divine son of the god Augustus and the goddess Livia; the copper coins struck by Herod Philip at Caesarea Philippi showed the head of the reigning emperor (Augustus, then Tiberius) with the emperor’s name and the inscription: “He who deserves adoration.” There is biting irony in the reference to those who give the illusion of ruling (cf. Jn. 19:11) but simply exploit the people over whom they exercise dominion. In their struggle for rank and precedence, and the desire to exercise authority for their own advantage, the disciples were actually imitating those whom they undoubtedly despised.

Jesus consciously opposes to the order of earthly rule the vocation of the servant. The synonymous parallelism between verses 43 and 44 identifies the household servant and the slave as men whose activities are not directed toward their own interests but to those of another. The order of life for the common dealings of the disciples is to be love expressed in the form of service. This transforms the question of rank and greatness into the task of service: only by service does one become great. On the other hand, high rank (“first,” “greatest”) deserves recognition in the community when it is rooted in the service which Jesus commands (cf. Ch. 9:35). The Twelve are summoned to become the compassionate community and to recognize that the performance of an act of compassion as an expression of pure devotion to Jesus is at one and the same time worship and service (cf. 1 Cor. 9:19; 2 Cor. 4:5; Gal. 5:13; 1 Peter 5:3).[3]

10:43 / Your servant is very similar to the saying in 9:35 and was undoubtedly an emphasis in Jesus’ teaching. In addition to the parallels in Matt. 20:26–27 and Luke 22:24–27, cf. also Matt. 23:11–12; Luke 14:11; 18:14, for similar thoughts. The term servant here (diakonos in Greek) is the same word used elsewhere in the nt to refer to various types of church ministries and indeed is the most common word to refer to church leaders and workers in the nt. We derive our word deacon from it. In v. 44, the term slave (doulos) is used as a synonym, though it refers to one who is in slavery, whereas servant can mean anyone who performs tasks for others.[4]

10:42–44 rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them … Not so with you. The rest of the disciples undoubtedly are jealous of the request for power and become angry (“They would rather bear a grudge than a cross”), so Jesus repeats the warning against selfish ambition from 9:35–37; 10:14–15, 31. They are acting like the despised Gentiles (especially the Romans), who in a patron-client society identified importance and status with absolute authority, “lording it over” others. They must place themselves as both “servant” (diakonos) and “slave” (doulos)—that is, consider their leadership as a humble privilege for them to serve the people to whom God sent them. We are now at the heart of the radical new ethical system that Jesus introduced and demonstrated: greatness through taking the lowest place (Phil. 2:5–11).[5]

43, 44. Not like that is it among you; rather, whoever wishes to become great among you let him be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you let him be the humble attendant of all.

Essentially this is the teaching of 9:35–37. Cf. 8:34, 35. See also Matt. 10:39; 16:24, 25; 18:1 ff.; Luke 9:23, 24. The form given to it is new and refreshing. It is an unforgettable paradox. Jesus is saying that in the kingdom over which he reigns greatness is obtained by pursuing a course of action which is the exact opposite of that which is followed in the unbelieving world. Greatness consists in self-giving, in the outpouring of the self in service to others, for the glory of God. To be great means to love. See John 13:34; 1 Cor. 13; Col. 3:14; 1 John 3:14; 4:8; 1 Peter 4:8.

It is the inverted pyramid, the believer being at the bottom—being the servant, the humble attendant “of all” (peculiar to Mark)—that symbolizes the position of the Christian as, with simple trust in God and love for all men, he continues on his way to the mansions of glory. In doing this is he not following in the footsteps of his Lord and Savior? See Luke 22:27; John 13:34, 35.[6]

[1] MacArthur, J. (2015). Mark 9–16 (pp. 108–109). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[2] Wessel, W. W., & Strauss, M. L. (2010). Mark. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Matthew–Mark (Revised Edition) (Vol. 9, p. 875). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Lane, W. L. (1974). The Gospel of Mark (pp. 382–383). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[4] Hurtado, L. W. (2011). Mark (p. 177). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[5] Osborne, G. R. (2014). Mark. (M. L. Strauss & J. H. Walton, Eds.) (p. 184). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[6] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Gospel According to Mark (Vol. 10, p. 414). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

January 10 The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible

January 10.—Morning. [Or January 19.]
“Lie not one to another.”

Genesis 12:10–20

AND there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land.

11, 12 And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he said unto Sarai his wife, Behold now, I know that thou art a fair woman to look upon: therefore it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see thee, that they shall say, This is his wife: and they will kill me, but they will save thee alive.

13 Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake; and my soul shall live because of thee. (To say that she was his sister was part of the truth, but the intention was to deceive. Whether what we say be true or not, if our object be to mislead others, we are guilty of falsehood. Let us pray for grace to be strictly truthful.)

14 ¶ And it came to pass, that, when Abram was come into Egypt, the Egyptians beheld the woman that she was very fair.

15 The princes also of Pharaoh saw her, and commended her before Pharaoh: and the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house.

16 And he entreated Abram well for her sake: and he had sheep, and oxen, and he asses, and menservants, and maidservants, and she asses, and camels. (Yet surely these gifts must have given Abram but little pleasure; he must have felt mean in spirit and sick at heart.)

17 And the Lord plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai Abram’s wife.

18 And Pharaoh called Abram, and said, What is this that thou hast done unto me? why didst thou not tell me that she was thy wife?

19 Why saidst thou, She is my sister? so I might have taken her to me to wife: now therefore behold thy wife, take her, and go thy way. (It must have been very humbling to the man of God to be rebuked by a heathen. It is sad indeed when the worldling shames the believer; yet it is too often the case.)

20 And Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him: and they sent him away, and his wife, and all that he had.

From this Scripture we learn that the best of men, though in the path of duty, will nevertheless have their trials. It is Abram, he is a pilgrim according to God’s command, and yet he is afflicted by the famine which falls upon the land in which he dwells. Trials find out the weak places in good men, and even the holy patriarch had some blemishes. He went into Egypt, into a land where he had no right to be: he was out of the path of duty, and therefore out of the place of safety. On the devil’s ground he was in slippery places, and found it hard to maintain his uprightness. He equivocated, in order to save himself and Sarai; he deceived Pharaoh by telling him only half the truth, and he exposed his wife to great peril: all this arose out of the unbelief which marred even the mighty faith of the father of the faithful. The best of men are but men at the best, and this record suffices to show us that even the chief of the patriarchs was a man of like passions with ourselves. Why can we not have Abram’s faith, since Abram had our infirmities? The same Spirit can work in us also a majestic faith, and lead us to triumph by its power.

Genesis 13:1–4

AND Abram went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the south. (He did not feel safe till he had returned to his separated condition. Association with the world is not good for the believer’s soul. The more he is a sojourner with his God, and a separatist from sinners, the better.)

2, 3, 4 And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold. And he went on his journeys from the south even to Beth-el, unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Beth-el and Hai; unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the Lord. (Doubtless he confessed his sinful weakness, and renewed the allegiance of his faith in God. If we have erred or backslidden, let us also return to our first love, to that Bethel where first we set up an altar unto the Lord.)

Oh send thy Spirit down, to write

Thy law upon my heart!

Nor let my tongue indulge deceit,

Nor act the liar’s part.

Order my footsteps by thy word,

And make my heart sincere;

Let sin have no dominion, Lord,

But keep my conscience clear.

January 10.—Evening. [Or January 20.]
“All things are yours.”

Genesis 13:5–18

AND Lot also, which went with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and tents. And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together: for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together.

And there was a strife between the herd men of Abram’s cattle and the herdmen of Lot’s cattle. (Rich men may be godly, and godly men may be rich, but riches are the sure source of trial. In this case abundance did not bring peace, but became the source of discomfort. Good men cannot rule their servants’ tempers, even though they control their own. When relatives dwell together they must be very careful, lest they be made to disagree through their servants. It is a rare thing for relations in the second degree to live in the same house without strife; and it becomes every inmate of such a household to watch against suspicions, envies, and bickerings.) And the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land. (The presence of such powerful enemies ought to have made these good men cautious how they disagreed. Since the eyes of the world are upon us we must be careful how we act. Let not a Christian household make sport for worldlings by internal disagreements.)

And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren.

Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left. (Abram was the older, the greater, the richer, and the better man, yet he gave way to his nephew. In all differences it becomes the more powerful to be the first to yield. By so doing he will prove himself to be of the nobler disposition. Abram’s faith brought forth in this case the fruit of a noble, generous, yielding spirit. All true faith is thus fruitful.)

10, 11 And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar. Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other.

12 Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom.

13 But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly.

This was a grave fault on Lot’s part. He looked only to the richness of the country, and not to the character of the people. He walked by sight not by faith; he looked at temporal advantage, and did not seek first the kingdom of God. Hence he became worldly himself, and gave up the separated life of faith to go and dwell in a city; thus he forfeited all claim to the promised inheritance, and pierced himself through with many sorrows. In the end, he who sought this world lost it, and he who was willing to give up anything for the honour of God found it.

When friends leave us we may look for renewed visits from the Lord to sustain and console us, for when Lot was gone the Lord appeared again to Abram.

14 ¶ And the Lord said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward:

15 For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever.

16 And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered.

17 Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee. (He was bidden to survey his possessions and walk abroad like an owner in his own grounds: even thus may our faith behold the covenant blessings which are ours in Christ Jesus, and we may rejoice in them with joy unspeakable.)

18 Then Abram removed his tent, and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar unto the Lord.

So let our lips and lives express

The holy gospel we profess;

So let our works and virtues shine,

To prove the doctrine all divine.

Thus shall we best proclaim abroad

The honours of our Saviour God,

When his salvation reigns within,

And grace subdues the power of sin.[1]


[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 19–20). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

January 10 Take His Hand

John 10:10

I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

Jesus Christ has proven that He has our absolute best interests at heart. What could He do that He has not done? He gave His life for us. Romans 5:8–10 says it this way: “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”

He is the one who said, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). He gave His life for you, and if you will give Him your trust, not only will He give you today and forgive your sins, but He will give you the future. You can walk into that future with your hand in His, with a sense of confidence and with fear dispelled, knowing that He is your refuge and your strong tower.[1]


[1] Jeremiah, D. (2002). Sanctuary: finding moments of refuge in the presence of God (p. 11). Nashville, TN: Integrity Publishers.

‘We are going to have a horrible time,’ Jim Rogers tells Boom Bust as global debt skyrockets — RT Business News

Central banks around the world will continue printing money as long as it’s necessary, says legendary investor Jim Rogers, calling it “madness.”

He talks to RT’s Boom Bust about the state of the global economy and what could be over the horizon. Never before in world history have interest rates been so low, Rogers says. The US’ central bank, the Fed, increased its balance sheet by over 500 percent in less than a decade. Japan’s central bank prints money and buys ETFs and bonds.

“These are astonishing statements and facts… this is insanity, that’s not how sound economic systems are supposed to work.” According to the trader, in 2008 we had problems because of too much debt.

However, “since then the debt has skyrocketed everywhere and it’s going higher and higher. We are going to have a horrible time when this all comes to an end.”

“Eventually, the market is going to say: ‘We don’t want this, we don’t want to play this game anymore, and we don’t want your garbage paper anymore’,” Rodgers explained.

When that happens then central banks will print even more and buy even more assets.“And that’s when we will have very serious problems… We all are going to pay a horrible price someday but in the meantime it’s a lot of fun for a lot of people.”

— Read on www.rt.com/business/477912-global-debt-skyrocketing-horrible-times/

Liberals Turn Common Sense Into Nonsense | Canada Free Press

If you listen to today’s liberal politicians and their flunkies in the main stream media, you wonder where their common sense has gone – it seems their one time common sense has morphed into nonsense.

A good example are the thoughts and policies put forth by the Democrat candidates for president and some of the movers and shakers in the rank and file of the Democrat Party itself.  You wonder, do they really believe what they say or are they just mouthing what they think the Democrat base wants to hear?  To any intelligent person, it is just pure nonsense to spout such platitudes promising voters something for nothing, which seems to be the major promise they are making in hopes of enticing  voters to vote for them.

Let’s go down the list of what the Democrats are professing to believe in.  Free college for all and the paying off of  students’ debt; Medicare for all, including for illegal aliens; no border walls to stem the flow of illegals into our country and the same with the amount of deadly drugs smuggled in; doing away with the Trump tax cuts and the imposition of a 70% income tax on successful wealthy citizens; mandating the introduction of “green energy” in place of fossil fuels; trying to impeach a sitting president who has committed no high crimes and misdemeanors only for purely political purposes; and on and on.  You wonder, do they really believe that the general public will fall for their “snake oil”?  That isn’t common sense, it is nonsense.

January 10 Thoughts for the quiet hour

My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus

Phil. 4:19

What a source—“God!” What a standard—“His riches in glory!” What a channel—“Christ Jesus!” It is your sweet privilege to place all your need over against His riches, and lose sight of the former in the presence of the latter. His exhaustless treasury is thrown open to you, in all the love of His heart; go and draw upon it, in the artless simplicity of faith, and you will never have occasion to look to a creature-stream, or lean on a creature-prop.

  1. H. M.[1]


[1] Hardman, S. G., & Moody, D. L. (1997). Thoughts for the quiet hour. Willow Grove, PA: Woodlawn Electronic Publishing.

January 10 – Proverbs on giving and receiving honor — Reformed Perspective

“By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches and honor and life.” – Proverbs 22:4 

Scripture reading: Proverbs 26:1-8

It is strange that in our society we often give movie stars and sports personalities more honor than we give policemen. If you watch reality TV shows about policemen, you’ll find there is an increasing lack of respect for them and you’ll even see violent attacks against them. And they serve us and protect us.

But God commands you to show honor! Start with the fifth commandment and honor those on whom God places honor: parents, elders, teachers, employees, etc. (Proverbs 3:35). Respect them and treat them well.

You are able to humble yourself and honor others when you remember what you were before and what the Lord Jesus has made of you. You were the pauper running madly to hell. He rescued you and gave you a new heart, a new record and a new life. You were brought into His kingdom, protected and fed. He then commands you to honor those over you.

Then make it easy for people to honor you by living well. Don’t praise yourself; wait for honor. As Proverbs 27:2 says:

“Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth; A stranger, and not your own lips.”

Or as we read in Proverbs 12:9:

“Better is the one who is slighted but has a servant, Than he who honors himself but lacks bread.”

Gain honor by fearing the Lord (Proverbs 15:33). Don’t be proud. Pride will destroy you (Proverbs 18:12). Or as it says in Proverbs 25:27,

“It is not good to eat much honey; so to seek one’s own glory is not glory.”

Suggestions for prayer

Pray that you will worship and honor God in humility and that you will not boast about what you are or have accomplished and that you will honor those God has placed over you.

This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Mitchell Persaud is pastor of New Horizon URC in Scarborough, ON, a mission church under the oversight of Cornerstone URC in London, ON. He was born in Guyana, South America, into a Hindu home, baptized Roman Catholic, raised Pentecostal and then became Reformed.

via January 10 – Proverbs on giving and receiving honor — Reformed Perspective

Salvation and Beginning in Faith | Tabletalk

Training to become a sushi chef is notoriously rigorous. It takes about seven years, and it progresses extremely slowly. After years of training, an apprentice will be given his first important task: making the rice. Once he has mastered this, he can move on. In the 2011 documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi, an apprentice is tasked with making the grilled egg course. It takes him more than two hundred attempts before he does it to the chef’s satisfaction.

The way someone learns to be a sushi chef is not very different from the ways that people learn to do anything. They can read about it, and there are books and diagrams that can teach you to do just about anything. They can hear about it, have someone tell them how to do it. But for a lot of things, it’s helpful to do it yourself, following a pattern. A teacher provides an example and the student watches how it’s done and then tries to do it himself. Over time, by continually going back to the teacher’s example, the student grows.

The Christian life is really no different. We read laws and principles for living from the Bible—the Ten Commandments, for instance. We hear teaching from pastors, elders, and teachers. And we also learn from examples. We see how characters in the Bible lived and try to pattern ourselves after them. We read about people in church history and pick up helpful lessons for our own Christian walk. Having examples and paradigms to look to is helpful for learning in all sorts of ways.

Our God knows this, and that’s why He provided us with so many examples. In fact, in 1 Timothy 1:12–17, the Apostle Paul gives us a paradigm for the Christian life, specifically, the start of the Christian life. Here’s what he writes:

I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

Here, Paul uses himself as an example of what is involved in salvation, presenting himself as a pattern or paradigm for how God saves people. In so doing, he tells us about receiving undeserved mercy that results in a transformed life, through the work of Christ, for the glory of God. Briefly, we could say that in this passage Paul gives us the what, the how, and the why of salvation. In this series, we will walk through this passage to explore Paul’s paradigm of salvation. In this post, we will look at the what of salvation.

It’s helpful to know some of the circumstances of this letter. Paul wrote it to his protege, Timothy, who was ministering to the church at Ephesus. In this letter, Paul appears to be taking on some false teachers who were causing trouble in the church.

We don’t know the exact details of what was being taught, but we can get some hints of it in verses 3–11. It appeared to involve an alternate understanding of the law; possibly the false teachers were saying that the law did not apply to Christians. Therefore, they were encouraging immoral living.

The section on false teachers closes in verse 11 with Paul’s mention of “the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.” It is probably this mention that prompts Paul to write what he does in our passage, because he goes on to flesh out what that gospel is and how it was that he was entrusted with it.

Salvation, according to Paul’s pattern, is undeserved mercy.

He does so by briefly recounting his own experience of conversion in verses 12–14. He begins by thanking God for calling him into His service despite his past sins. He says in verse 12 that God “judged him faithful.” Since he’s talking here about his transition from unbeliever to believer, he can’t have in mind here any kind of ongoing faithfulness in his Christian life. Instead, he’s referring to the moment of his conversion.

At that moment, God “judged him faithful” in the sense of pronouncing judgment upon him. And that judgment was “faithful,” or “righteous.” Yet that judgment could not have been on the basis of his behavior at the time, for he says in verse 13 that he was “a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent.”

Some people have very dramatic conversion stories and others do not. Actually, however, the transition from unbeliever to believer is always dramatic, because it involves a complete remaking of the person and his direction in life. It is heart surgery—we are given a new heart, one that is soft and sensitive to the things of God, one that is able to respond to Him.

Paul exemplified this transition. His story is well known. Before his conversion, he was a fierce opponent of Christianity. He was there at the stoning of Stephen (Acts 7); he persecuted Christians; he sought them out and put them in prison. In fact, when he converted, he was on his way to Damascus to search for and imprison Christians (Acts 9).

Paul calls himself a blasphemer because he refused to recognize Christ as God. He was a persecutor because he opposed the church. And he was an “insolent opponent,” like a madman, someone wild and out of control.

But then something changed. In verse 13, Paul tells us: “But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief.” He highlights the mercy of God in saving him, but he does not excuse his sin. To do so would be to destroy his need for mercy. In saying he had acted ignorantly, Paul is applying a category from the Jewish law. He’s saying that he sinned without knowing it. The law made provisions for sins committed in ignorance. Nevertheless, some kind of sacrifice had to be made for such sins of ignorance, for they were still sins.

Before Paul was saved, he believed he was zealous for God. He opposed the church because he thought it was an abomination. He didn’t realize it, but he was opposing God. And he was trying to earn salvation through his good works, through his zeal in keeping the law and in opposing the church. Such an attitude attempts to force God to accept us, to bring something before Him that we can point to and say: “Here. Because of this, You must approve of me.”

There is no such thing that Paul could do to deserve the Lord’s acceptance of him. If Paul was to be saved, it would have to be a purely gracious act, an act of pure mercy. Sinners cannot earn their salvation through their works. Paul came to recognize this truth after his conversion, and he locates the transition from his former way of life here, in God’s receiving mercy.

At that point, Paul says in verse 14, “the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.” The grace and love of Christ overflowed into Paul’s life and poured into his life in such a way that afterward, Paul’s life was characterized by faith and love. He had faith in Christ, and he loved God, and that affected how he lived his life. His life was marked by service to God, as he says in verse 12.

This is the other side of the transition. Because of this new state, it would have been inconceivable for him to continue in his previous way of life.

Some people today say that because we are saved by grace, what we do doesn’t matter. But Paul would have none of this. In pointing to his experience, he is saying that a fundamental change in how we live our lives is central to conversion. Having been saved by the mercy of God and given new hearts, we simply cannot continue to live as we once did.

Of course, on this side of glory, sin remains. Paul himself recognized this and grieved about it (see especially Rom. 7). But the mercy of God’s acting in conversion calls us to strive for holiness. One of the marks of believers is a struggle with sin, by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Salvation, according to Paul’s pattern, is undeserved mercy. This undeserved mercy sparks a fundamental change in our lives. We receive, by God’s mercy, a new heart. We are pronounced righteous by virtue of our faith in Christ.

Afterward, by God’s grace, we strive, not always perfectly and not always consistently, but by the power of the Holy Spirit, to leave behind our former lives and to pursue holiness. This is part of what it means to be saved.


— Read on tabletalkmagazine.com/posts/salvation-and-beginning-in-faith-2019-12/

Trey Gowdy on impeachment: ‘There is no mathematical way’ Trump will be convicted and Democrats know it | Fox News

Former congressman Trey Gowdy said on “Hannity” Thursday that there is no way President Trump will be convicted by the Senate and removed from office following his impeachment trial and claimed that Democrats’ real objective is to “neuter” the president in a potential second term.

Lara Logan: Mainstream media forgetting Iranians who are celebrating Soleimani’s death | Fox News

Fox Nation host Lara Logan said Thursday that the American media is largely failing to cover the swath of the Iranian population that is celebrating the death of terror general Qassem Soleimani in an American drone attack last week.

Paul Craig Roberts: The Justice Department Is Devoid Of Justice | Zero Hedge

“This is how corrupt American law has become… A man is being put in prison for 6 months for not cooperating with an investigation of an event that did not happen!”

Authored by Paul Craig Roberts,

In the United States the criminal justice (sic) system is itself not subject to law.  We see immunity to law continually as police commit felonies against citizens and even murder children and walk away free.  We see it all the time when prosecutors conduct political prosecutions and when they prosecute the innocent in order to build their conviction record.  We see it when judges fail to prevent prosecutors from withholding exculpatory evidence and bribing witnesses and when judges accept coerced plea deals that deprive the defendant of a jury trial.

We just saw it again when federal prosecutors recommended a six month prison sentence for Lt. Gen. Flynn, the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency accused of lying to the FBI about nothing of any importance, for being uncooperative in the Justice (sic) Department’s effort to frame President Trump with false “Russiagate” charges.  The Justice (sic) Department prosecutor said:

“The sentence should adequately deter the defendant from violating the law, and to promote respect for the law. It is clear that the defendant has not learned his lesson. He has behaved as though the law does not apply to him, and as if there are no consequences for his actions.”

That is precisely what the Justice (sic) Department itself did for years in their orchestration of the fake Russiagate charges against Trump.  

The prosecutor’s hypocrisy is overwhelming. 

The Justice (sic) Department is a criminal organization.  It has no sense of justice.  Convicting the innocent builds the conviction rate of the prosecutor as effectively as convicting the guilty. The Horowitz report of the Justice (sic) Department’s lies to the FISA court did not recommend a six-month prision sentence for those Justice (sic) Deplartment officials who lied to the government.  Horowitz covered up the crimes by converting them into “mistakes.”  Yes, they are embarrassing “mistakes,” but mistakes don’t bring prison sentences.

Gen. Flynn, who was President Trump’s National Security Advisor for a couple of weeks before Mueller and Flynn’s attorneys manuevered him into a plea bargain, allegedly lied to the FBI about whether he met with a Russian.  Flynn and his attorneys should never have accepted the proposition that a National Security Advisor shouldn’t meet with Russians.  Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezinski met with Russians all the the time.  It was part of their job.  Trump originally intended to normalize the strained relations with Russia.  Flynn should have been meeting with Russians. It was his job.

Ninety-seven percent of felony cases are resolved with plea bargains.  In other words, there is no trial.  The defendant admits to guilt for a lighter sentence, and if he throws in “cooperation,” which generally means giving false evidence against someone else in the prosecutor’s net, no sentence at all.  Flynn was expected to help frame Trump and Flynn’s former business partner, Bijan Rafiekian, on an unrelated matter.  He didn’t, which means he is “uncooperative” and deserving of a prison sentence.

Plea bargains have replaced trials for three main reasons.  

  • One is that the defense attorney doesn’t want the hard work of defending his client.  

  • One is that the majority of defendants cannot afford to pay the cost of defense.  

  • One is that refusing to plea guilty and demanding a trial angers both the prosecutor and judge.  

Trials take time and provide a test of often unreliable police and prosecutorial evidence.  They mean work for the prosecutor.  Even if he secures a conviction, during the same time he could have obtained many more plea bargain convictions.  For the judge, trials back up his case docket.  Consequently, a trial means for the defendant very high risks of a much longer and more severe sentence than he would get in exchange for saving prosecutor and judge time and energy.  All of this is explained to the defendant by his attorney.  

It was explained to Gen. Flynn.  He agreed to a plea, most likely advised that his “offense” was so minor, no sentence would be forthcoming.  Flynn later tried to revoke his plea, saying it was coerced, but the Clinton-appointed  judge refused to let him out of the trap.

Now that we know the only Russiagate scandal was its orchestration by the CIA, Justice (sic) Department, and Democrats, failing to cooperate with the special counsel investigation of alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election is nonsensical as we  know for a definite fact that there was no such interference.

This is how corrupt American law has become.  A man is being put in prison for 6 months for not cooperating with an investigation of an event that did not happen!

If Trump doesn’t pardon Flynn (and Manafort and Stone), and fire the corrupt prosecutors who falsely prosecuted Flynn, Trump deserves no one’s support.  

A president who will not defend his own people from unwarranted prosecution is not worthy of support.

In Flynn’s case, we cannot dismiss the suspicion that revenge against Flynn was the driving factor. Gen. Flynn is the official who revealed on television that Obama made the willful decision to send ISIS or whatever we want to call them into Syria.  Of course, the Obama regime pretended that the jihadists were moderates seeking to overthrow the alleged dictator Assad and bring democracy to Syria.  Washington then pretended that it was fighting the mercenaries it had sent into Syria.  Even though the presstitutes did their best to ignore Flynn’s information, Flynn gave extreme offense by letting this information out. That bit of truth-telling was Flynn’s real offense.

— Read on www.zerohedge.com/political/paul-craig-roberts-justice-department-devoid-justice

Friday Briefing January 10, 2020 – AlbertMohler.com


 Truth, Tragedy, and Moral Responsibility: Tragic Crash of Ukraine International Airlines Flight over Iran Raises Huge Questions


 The Dull and the Dazzling Sides of the House of Windsor: Prince Harry and Meghan Announce Plans to Step Back as Senior Members of Royal Family


 Conservative Intellectual Gertrude Himmelfarb Dies at 97: A Look at the Life of a Courageous Defender of Truth and Morality



Time for the mouse to roar! – Voice for Justice

If ever there was a need for the Church to stand up and proclaim the truth, this is it.

Happy new year…

Today, we are witness to the ever increasing disintegration of society – with families collapsing, STIs ravaging the population like a modern day plague, and mental illness affecting one in four of the population, with anxiety, depression and OCD becoming for many an uncomfortable and inescapable fact of life (https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/statistics-and-facts-about-mental-health/how-common-are-mental-health-problems/#.XhMe3i2caYU).   Add to that growing fears for world peace and anxiety over climate change, coupled with global slaughter of the unborn that last year made abortion the main cause of death worldwide (https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/abortion-again-tops-worldwide-causes-of-death-in-2019-at-more-than-42-million?inf_contact_key=67418701ae455d379241608f93ddd649842e902fbefb79ab9abae13bfcb46658 ), and it does not take a genius to work out that humanity has gone badly astray.

While we persist in rebellion against the way we are made we cannot prosper.  Yet still we refuse to acknowledge the writing on the wall.  Still we listen to the weasel words of the devil – that we are architects of our own destiny and can have it all.  Still we refuse to turn back to God.

If ever there was a need for the Church to stand up and proclaim the truth, this is it.  However, in recent years Church leaders, of all denominations, seem to have abandoned the Gospel in favour of a touchy feely, ‘Jesus loves everything’ kind of mantra that more closely reflects the changing fashions and values of the world than the received word of God.  They are contributing to, and embedding, the problem.  Such a stance can only make a mockery of Christ’s death, impossibly trivialising His sacrifice on the cross.

Fact:  Sin blinds us to, and separates us from, God. It is outworking of the eternal conflict between good and evil, and the devil’s main weapon designed to destroy our relationship with God and make us subject to his control.  Sin binds us to death.

Fact:  Sin nurtures our focus on ‘self’, so that we can no longer see beyond the fog-filled slime that increasingly stifles existence for the greater part of humanity.   It stops us from seeing light and truth, and entering into the realm of real life.   It destroys hope.

Fact: On the cross Jesus once and for all broke the power of Satan, and restored men and women to that direct relationship with God for which we were first created.  But it isn’t automatic.  We have to choose.

Admittedly, as result of rebranding, many today are a bit confused about what sin actually is, but this is where the Bible is so important, because from page one it helpfully spells out the difference between right and wrong, and tells us how to live.  And it is here that the modern-day Church is so spectacularly failing, because instead of guarding and passing on the unedited Word of God so as to lead people into life, it increasingly affirms and promotes prohibited behaviours, reclassifying them as ‘good’.   Even worse, it joins with modern culture in affirming these same behaviours and promoting them to children, thereby exposing them to great harm.

This is the devil’s teaching, where sin is seen as no more than a meaningless irrelevance imposed by narrow minded and judgmental bigots, who are incapable of appreciating freedom and the true nature of love.

At every level this is wrong.  Real love can never accept sin, because real love holds out the promise of healing and redemption for the sinner.  It promises wholeness.

The truth is that the devil is battling to take back control from God.  He cannot win, but under his influence many will find themselves consigned to hell – the living hell now of loneliness, sickness and fear, and the eternal hell of separation from God.  The only way we can escape this fog of mind-numbing delusion is by once again turning to Christ, and living by the truth.  For humanity to be saved, it is imperative that the Church re-awakens and once again stands on the Word of God.  For humanity to be saved, it is vital that we all speak out.

This year it is time for the mouse to roar!

— Read on vfjuk.org.uk/news-updates/time-for-the-mouse-to-roar/

January 10, 2020 Morning Verse Of The Day

Its Primitiveness to Combat

For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race. But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. (3:7–8)

James’s point in these two verses is simply that the human tongue is innately uncontrollable and untamable. It is wild, undisciplined, irresponsible, irrepressible, and savage. In what might be called its primitive or intrinsic evil, it combats every effort to control and direct it.

Every species includes animals that walk and fly, beasts and birds, as well as those that crawl and swim, the reptiles and creatures of the sea. Animals from each of those categories are being tamed and have been tamed by the human race. The wildest, smartest, fastest, most powerful, and most elusive of creatures are subject to man’s taming. Even after the Fall, Noah was able to bring every kind of animal into the ark in pairs without serious incident. Although the task of Noah and his family to take care of those thousands of creatures was surely daunting in the extreme, there is no record of any of the animals attacking or harming their keepers, or each other, in any way. For centuries, the major attraction of circuses has been the wild animal acts, in which lions, tigers, and other powerful and dangerous animals do tricks at the command of a human trainer. In that regard they are less primitive and more civilized and controllable than the unregenerate, unsanctified tongues of their masters.

But no one, that is, no human being in his own power, can tame the tongue. Even in believers, the tongue can easily slip out of its sanctified cage, as it were, and do great harm. Its work can be so subtle that it sometimes escapes notice until the damage is done. Well aware of that danger, David prayed, “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips” (Ps. 141:3). Even the godly Paul confessed: “I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not” (Rom 7:18). He could not trust himself to keep his tongue, or any other part of his unredeemed flesh, in check. “For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh,” he reminded believers in Galatia; “for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please” (Gal. 5:17).

As noted earlier in this commentary chapter, Adam’s first sin after the Fall not only was slander but slander against God, indirectly blaming his own disobedience on the Lord for having given him Eve, who tempted him to eat of the forbidden fruit (Gen. 3:12). By contrast, the first act of the new creations in Christ, who became the church, was to praise God with their purified tongues, “speaking of the mighty deeds of God” (Acts 2:11).

Restless translates akatastatos, the same word rendered “unstable” in 1:8. In this context, the meaning goes well beyond that of restless, suggesting the idea of a wild animal fighting fiercely against the restraints of captivity. This evil chafes at confinement, always seeking a way to escape and to spread its deadly poison. Its “venom” is more deadly than a snake’s because it can destroy morally, socially, economically, and spiritually.

David was a soldier’s soldier, a man of military renown who had fought powerful enemies. But he realized that the most dangerous enemies are those who attack with words. He therefore prayed:

Hear my voice, O God, in my complaint; preserve my life from dread of the enemy. Hide me from the secret counsel of evildoers, from the tumult of those who do iniquity, who have sharpened their tongue like a sword. They aimed bitter speech as their arrow, to shoot from concealment at the blameless; suddenly they shoot at him, and do not fear. They hold fast to themselves an evil purpose; they talk of laying snares secretly; they say, “Who can see them?” They devise injustices, saying, “We are ready with a well-conceived plot”; for the inward thought and the heart of a man are deep. But God will shoot at them with an arrow; suddenly they will be wounded. So they will make him stumble; their own tongue is against them; all who see them will shake the head. Then all men will fear, and they will declare the work of God, and will consider what He has done. The righteous man will be glad in the Lord and will take refuge in Him; and all the upright in heart will glory. (Ps. 64:1–10)

The poisonous lies of Laban’s sons against Jacob drove him and his family out of the land and devastated Laban’s own home and family life (Gen. 31). The venomous tongue of Doeg the Edomite lying to King Saul about David and Ahimelech the priest resulted in the brutal massacre of eighty-five priests as well as the entire priestly city of Nob (1 Sam. 22:9–19). The deceitful princes of Ammon also lied about David, accusing him of hypocrisy in honoring Nahash their king and Hanun, his son and successor. Believing the lies, Hanun assembled an enormous force of his own soldiers, along with Aramean mercenaries, of which some seven hundred charioteers and forty thousand horsemen and their commander were needlessly slaughtered by David’s forces—all because of a lie! (2 Sam. 10). When Naboth refused to sell his vineyard to King Ahab, Queen Jezebel conspired to have two men falsely accuse Naboth of blasphemy, which resulted in his being stoned to death (1 Kings 21:1–13). As recorded in the book of Esther, Satan attempted to use the lies of Haman to exterminate exiled Jews in Medo-Persia, but was thwarted by Esther and her cousin, Mordecai. Our Lord Himself was put to death because of lies (Matt. 26:57–60). Stephen, the first Christian martyr, was stoned to death because he was falsely accused of blaspheming Moses and God (Acts 6:8–7:60).[1]

7–8 James’s discussion of the tongue’s destructiveness continues by comparing it to the wildest of animals. James notes that every species of animal, bird, reptile, and sea creature is being tamed and has been tamed by human beings. “Tamed” can also mean “controlled” or “subdued.” The point is that, in relation to the other species of the earth, humans are distinct. In the creation of people and animals on the sixth day (Ge 1:24–28) God stated this distinction explicitly. He proclaimed in Genesis 1:26, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” James’s point is that the creation mandate of ruling over the lesser beasts had been carried out. Animals, birds, reptiles, and sea creatures are subdued. One must not think here of “tamed” as in a circus; rather, James has in mind humans as dominant.

Yet, irony of ironies, that small beast, the tongue, defies subjugation. James states plainly, “but no man can tame the tongue.” He probably speaks hyperbolically in v. 8, since his appeal is that those of the congregations do just that. Yet the two descriptions at the end of the verse leave no room for doubt concerning the seriousness with which the tongue must be taken. Like a wild animal pacing about, attack and tearing in its every thought, the tongue is a “restless evil.” The word “restless” (akatastatos, GK 190) also connotes the concept of being “unstable” and occurs in James’s description of the double-minded person of 1:8. In one ancient work, slander is personified as a “restless demon” (Shepherd of Hermas, Mand. 2:3). Moreover, this wild animal is full of death-dealing poison. The thought parallels Paul’s quote of Psalm 140:3 at Romans 3:13. There the apostle conflates a number of OT passages to speak of the comprehensive nature of human sin, pointing out that sin is often associated with the “mouth” (i.e., speech). He includes the quotation from Psalm 140:3, a psalm that describes wicked people of violence who devise evil plans and slander with their poisonous tongues: “The poison of vipers is on their lips.” So too James points out that the tongue is like a wild, poisonous animal that kills with its blows.[2]

7–8 James continues to justify his criticism of the tongue: irreducible to order is preferable in itself (lectio difficilior, lectio potior) to the variant reading, the commonplace “unruly,” and also as characteristically opening the “rondo” on the duplicity of the tongue, beginning here and closing on the same note in the question in v. 12. In 1:8 the word is used (with “doubleminded”) to denote another aspect of “two-mindedness” which is the gravamen of James’s charge against the tongue (3:8–12). Here we interject a suggestion that the reader might profitably notice James’s recurrent detestation of precisely such insincerity and inconstancy in general: it is one of the main threads in his thought from 1:8 onward, like its corresponding opposite, “constancy,” from 1:3 onward. In 1:6–8 the words “wavering,” “doubleminded,” “irreducible to order,” and again in 4:8 “doubleminded,” indicate doubt, damaging to the man so described; in 3:2–12 the damage is to others, e.g., in v. 6, by the tongue’s duplicity (see vv. 9–12); hence we suggest “irreducible to order” or “treacherous.”

The complaint against the tongue then is its treacherous inconsistency—an evil irreducible to order, to a consistent character of disciplined obedience and to righteousness. It is the tongue itself, not only its misuse, that is condemned. His characteristically Hebrew emphasis on the mischief of the corporal tongue is not intended to minimize in any way the guilt of the man who is using it, any more than the versatility of the helm excuses the negligent or even malevolent steersman: the case is not parallel to corporal weakness beyond our control. To James the tongue is not merely a disease (see 5:13–19). In plain, and perhaps not really too free English: “the tongue is a monster of inconsistency”—or even better a “monster of caprice” full of deadly venom.

The Greek noun here translated genus does not mean “inborn qualities,” like strength, ferocity, or docility, but KJV “kind,” “every natural sort.” James’s list here is based on Gen. 9:2 and similar lists in Deut. 4:17f.; 1 K. 4:33; Acts 10:12; 11:6. The ancients even speak of tamed fishes: not that fishes are notably savage, as a rule, but even the tongue can (treacherously) be as mild as a tame goldfish punctually awaiting its ants’ eggs.

“Beast” in the NT is used only of undomesticated animals.21 Sea-creatures, here only in the Bible, is common in Greek poetry and late Greek prose.23

Both pagans and Hebrews were proud of man’s lordship over the animal world. As in Ps. 8:6–8, the thought, in biblical and secular literature, of man’s dominion over the animal world comprises both aspects of his power: (i) over what (not to particularize too much) he hunts and traps and perhaps eats; and (ii) over what he domesticates—perhaps for food, like sheep or hens, or perhaps for training and working, like horses and dogs. “Tamed” (EVV) is slightly ambiguous and too strong: so we prefer subdued (Dan. 2:40), “subjected,” or “domesticated.” The domesticating of wild animals is a sign of the Messianic Age (Isa. 11:6, 9). On the point of domesticated animals, it may be relevant to remark that the rich denounced by James regarded and treated the poor workers as cattle; we think that is a fair deduction from what James says of the rich.

James no doubt knew the current sophisticated treatments of this subject, involving man the trainer no less than man the hunter and killer. Whatever he borrowed we can be sure he, like Paul, made his own. Of all animals, says Aristotle, the human young is most intractable. Thinkers like James were understandably indignant when, as Isocrates protests: “Every year men see in the circuses lions that are more gently disposed toward their keepers than some men are toward their benefactors, and bears rolling and wrestling and imitating our skills”; but men are absolutely unable to discipline their own tongues. Man can bridle and break a horse, but he cannot reduce the tongue to discipline.28[3]

The Difficulty: Taming the Tongue (3:7–8)

Having sketched in vivid detail and with clever analogies the problem the tongue presents to the teachers—its propensity to evil—James now proceeds to the difficulty of taming the tongue. James 3:7–8 form a dual sentence, mentioning first the positive capacity of humans to control all the animals of the world (perhaps James did not know about Cairn Terriers) and second the negative incapacity of humans to control the tongue.

Perhaps backing up puts this in better perspective. James’s fundamental point was established in 3:1–2: teachers carry the load of speaking the truth in love, and one who controls the tongue is “perfect.” From that point on James amplifies his points by sketching the problem of controlling the tongue (3:3–6), by exploring the difficulty of controlling the tongue (3:7–8), and by laying out his point again and buttressing that with a series of questions (3:9–11). Once again we need to keep in mind how James proceeds: he is not offering an inductive argument. He states his point first and then elaborates and clarifies it from a variety of angles, but always with a view to exhorting the teachers to guard the tongue. James’s rhetoric, it needs to be emphasized, is decidedly negative and pessimistic, but that rhetoric does not reflect a pessimistic attitude about what he expects from the teachers. The negative rhetoric is designed to gain the hearing of the teachers.

3:7 Humans, and we see this today in zoos, can muster their energies to tame the animal world. This is James’s rhetorical claim, and it will form the foundation for a contrary claim about the human capacity to tame the tongue in v. 8. A few lines from Philo express the ancient first-century pride in what humans had accomplished in taming animals:

Properly, I should say to them, “beasts ought to become tame through association with men.” Indeed I have often known lions and bears and panthers become tame, not only with those who feed them, in gratitude for receiving what they require, but also with everybody else, presumably because of the likeness to those who give them food. That is what should happen, for it is always good for the inferior to follow the superior in hope of improvement.

The NRSV’s “every species” ably translates pasa physis (“all nature”). It could be rendered “take your pick, humans have tamed them all,” and James seems to be indiscriminately referring to any particular species of animal.95 He mentions four categories: “beast and bird, reptile and sea creature.” We are led to think here that he is drawing on the creation mandate to form the foundation for his argument about the tongue: “and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth … and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth” (Gen 1:26, 28). Neither “beasts” nor “sea creatures” are mentioned in Genesis. And though “tamed”97 is also not in Genesis, that James brings up a listing like that in Genesis 1:28 and uses “likeness of God” in 3:9 suggests that the creation text and God’s mandate to humans to govern the world lurks behind 3:7–8. It is the success of humans with animals that both impresses James and his readers (and us), and that success will form the foil for the human inability to control the tongue. In fact, James flourishes in his praise of success: he says any animal species “can be tamed and has been tamed” by the human species.100 Some have suggested that “can be tamed” refers to the human appropriation of the Genesis mandate to govern the world for God, while the perfect tense “has been tamed” refers to God’s governance of animals at creation. But James’s choice to see the agent of the taming in “by102 the human species” contradicts that suggestion and, in context, James is not concerned with divine control of the world but with the human capacity and success in controlling animals and their incapacity to control the tongue.

3:8 In hyperbole, James now makes his case for the problem the teachers are facing: “but no one can tame the tongue.” 3:2 claimed that the one who does, in fact, control the tongue is “perfect” and now James forces the urgency of the situation in the hyperbolic claim that no one can do so. Thus, James once again sounds like the Jewish wisdom tradition, even if his rhetoric is stronger:

Rash words are like sword thrusts,

but the tongue of the wise brings healing (Prov 12:18).

Those who guard their mouths preserve their lives;

those who open wide their lips come to ruin (13:3).

A gentle tongue is a tree of life,

but perverseness in it breaks the spirit (15:4).

She opens her mouth with wisdom,

and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue (31:26).

The translation above, “no one can tame,” perhaps obscures a subtle nuance that compares taming the animal and inability to tame the human world. This nuance can be seen in a more literal rendering that focuses on James’s comparison of species: “but no one can tame the tongue of humans.” If humans can tame wild animals of all sorts, they still cannot tame the little tongue inside the human. As George Guthrie says it, “Yet, irony of ironies, that small beast, the tongue, defies subjugation.”106

Furthermore, James says the tongue is also “a restless evil” and “full of deadly poison,” and both expressions are primarily concerned with the impact of the tongue on the community. James uses “restless” (akatastatos) and its noun cognate in 1:8 (“the doubter, being double-minded and unstable in every way”) and 3:16 (“where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind”). Here he combines it with “evil” (kakon). In light of 1 Corinthians 14:33, where the noun cognate (akatastasia) is contrasted to “peace” and where God is dissociated from this restlessness and chaos, the restless evil James has in mind is communal: the teacher who uses his or her tongue to tear apart destroys the stability of the messianic community. Again, we can look to the letter of James itself, that is, to 1:19–21; 2:2–4; 3:13–18; and 4:1–12 for concrete examples of this restless evil.

The tongue is also “full of deadly poison.” Davids is surely right here: the image is so appropriate and so common one should avoid seeking a specific origin of the expression. Perhaps disclosed in James’s use of death-dealing “poison” is a snake bite. Thus, Psalm 140:3: “They make their tongue sharp as a snake’s, and under their lips is the venom of vipers” (see also Ps 58:3–4; Rom 3:13). And from Qumran, “a lying tongue; as the poison of serpents it bursts forth continuously” (1QHa 13:27). The sources for the abusive tongue are both hell (James 3:6) and the serpent (3:8), and in 3:15 James traces sinful behaviors back to their “earthly, unspiritual, devilish” origin.

James knows control of the tongue marks holiness and love. He also knows that humans have more capacity to tame animals than their tongues, and this is especially important for the teachers of the messianic community. When the tongue is unleashed from its hinges, it destabilizes and deals death to the community. For this reason, James piles on rhetorical exaggeration to gain the attention of the teachers and to press them to perfection.[4]

We Can Tame Anything but the Tongue (3:7–8)

James begins the next verse with the word “for” (esv). That shows he is explaining what he just said. By this we know the tongue is enflamed by hell: mankind can tame anything but the tongue. Every kind of animal “can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison” (James 3:7–8 esv).

The tongue is restless, unstable, and liable to break out at any time. It is half-tamed at best. At an aquarium, we may behold whales, dolphins, and seals heeding human commands. At the circus, we see birds, horses, camels, elephants, and even tigers perform their routines. If an animal fails to perform, the trainer barks commands to bring it back into line. But who can force the tongue back into line? There is a touch of poetry in James’s answer:

Every kind of beast can be tamed by humankind,

but no one among humans can tame the tongue.

Humankind subdues every kind of animal, but it cannot subdue itself. James’s literal phrasing is a bit awkward: “No one is able to tame the tongue—among humans.” This stilted language makes us think. Human nature cannot control the tongue, yet the tongue must be tamed. Who then, will tame the tongue?

Augustine explains that James “does not say ‘no one can tame the tongue,’ but ‘no man,’ so that, when it is tamed, we admit that it was done by the mercy of God, the assistance of God, the grace of God.” This clarifies James’s pessimism about the tongue. James says two things: The tongue has vast influence, so we ought to control it. Yet no human can tame the tongue. This is a paradox: James says we must do something that we cannot do. There are two ways to approach this problem.

First, we can soften James’s message. He means it is almost impossible to tame the tongue, therefore we must redouble our efforts. This view says: Since the tongue is the key to holy living, we must bend every effort to control it, for if we do, we control all. James’s illustrations seem to support this view. Just as a bit turns a large horse, just as a rudder turns a large ship, so the tongue the lives of men.

One writer compares the tongue to a master switch. The words that the tongue forms control our thoughts and plans. If the tongue were “well under control” so that it refused to formulate “words of self-pity” or “thoughts of anger … then these things are cut down before they have a chance to live.”

Rudders certainly are important. During World War II, the mightiest German battleship, the Bismarck, sank because its rudder failed. Germany launched the Bismarck to attack Allied shipping. When the British navy intercepted it, the Bismarck sank the Hood, the pride of Britain’s navy, in less than ten minutes. The British put everything into a counterattack while the Bismarck, lightly damaged, steamed to harbor. But one tiny plane dropped a torpedo that struck and irreparably damaged the Bismarck’s rudder. The Bismarck could only go in circles. Within hours, dozens of ships and planes brought all their firepower against that one ship until it sank.

Metaphorical rudders are crucial, too. A misdirected chief officer can wreak havoc upon a corporation. A heedless pastor can decimate a church. The first view says it is very difficult, but we can and must control the tongue, for it is the rudder for human life.

The second view interprets James rather literally. It says: It would be good to tame the tongue, but James says we cannot. Therefore, we must turn elsewhere for help. No one has sufficient self-control to govern his tongue: “We all stumble in many ways” (3:2). “No one”—no mere human—“can tame the tongue” (3:8).[5]

3:7–8 / Having said some rather strong things about the tongue, James now turns to arguing his case in detail. His main point will be that the tongue, that is, human speech, is hopelessly evil. He begins with an analogy from nature: “All kinds of species are being tamed and have been tamed by humans.” He is not arguing scientifically: It would not bother him to learn that no one had yet tamed a rhinoceros or that in his day killer whales still lacked human contact; nor is James concerned about whether an animal is fully domesticated. It is enough for him that wild-cats and apes can be brought under human control. This is true, from the prisoner taming the mice and rats in his dungeon, to the elephant driver causing his beast to lift an Indian prince, to the snake charmer in the market and the merchant with birds that fly to him on command. This had been true in the past (have been tamed), but it is not part of some golden age half-forgotten—it is present experience as well (are being tamed). Furthermore, this truth is applicable to all the four major classes of animals: animals (i.e., mammals), birds, reptiles (which includes amphibians), and creatures of the sea.

But what a contrast when one comes to the tongue! No one can tame the tongue: The problem of controlling speech was a byword of the Greek and Hebrew cultures: It was a maxim that James hardly needed to prove. Did not his readers have dozens of things they wished they could “unsay” or many words they had spoken in error? Had they not learned dozens of proverbs to try to help them: “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing” (Prov. 12:18); “He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin” (Prov. 13:3). Surely James’ words are self-evident to every honest person.

Instead of being tamed, the tongue is a restless (or unstable) evil. As Hermas would later say, “Defamation is evil; it is a restless demon, never at peace, but always dwells in dissension” (Mandate 2.3). In contrast, God is perfectly single-minded, stable, and at peace, “For God is not a God of disorder [confusion, restlessness, instability] but of peace” (1 Cor. 14:33). Yet speech is frequently characterized by instability; one believes one has controlled the tongue, then in an unguarded moment a critical, defamatory word slips out. Uncontrollable, restless, unstable—those are also the characteristics of the demonic, as James will soon point out (3:16).

Furthermore, the tongue is full of deadly poison. The psalmist agreed: “They make their tongues as sharp as a serpent’s; the poison of vipers is on their lips” (Ps. 140:3). The comparison with snakes was widespread in Jewish literature, perhaps because the tongue looks a bit like a snake, perhaps because a snake kills with the mouth, and perhaps because the serpent in Eden deceived with its smooth words. There is no evidence that James is depending on any particular passage; he is simply asserting that words are not harmless; they are dangerous, as deadly as poison if they are not controlled. This is James’ answer to the modern tendency to see words as unimportant and cheap.[6]

7. All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man,8. but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

James comes to a conclusion on taming the tongue. With the examples of the horse’s bit and the ship’s rudder he has shown the skill and capability of man (vv. 3–4). Now he portrays man as ruler in God’s creation, for man has been given power to rule over all creatures that walk, fly, crawl, and swim (Gen. 1:26, 28; Ps. 8:6–8).

“All kinds of animals.” We should not expect a scientific enumeration of all the species of animals that man has been able to tame. Nevertheless, James lists them in pairs:

wild animals and birds

reptiles and sea creatures

Man has been able to subdue all these creatures, for God has given man the power to rule in his great creation. Man continues to tame animals for his benefit and pleasure. We see this displayed in a circus performance where wild animals obey their trainer who merely cracks a whip, snaps his fingers, or claps his hands. Man has been endowed with a nature that is able to subdue God’s creatures.

Yet man is unable to control his own tongue. When man fell into sin, he lost his ability to govern himself. He lost control of himself and is now ruled by his tongue. Man can tame fierce and powerful animals, yet he cannot tame his own tongue.

James makes no exceptions: “No man can tame the tongue.” With this brief and yet emphatic remark James repeats what he said earlier: “We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check” (3:2).

What is man’s tongue? “It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” The picture is that of a poisonous snake whose tongue is never at rest and whose fangs are filled with lethal venom. Man’s tongue is unstable, elusive, restless. Besides, it is full of a death-bringing poison. Of all the biblical authors, James most descriptively and accurately portrays the nature of man’s tongue (compare Ps. 58:4; 140:3). It is an ugly picture that shows the destructive nature of sin.[7]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1998). James (pp. 157–159). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Guthrie, G. H. (2006). James. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, p. 247). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Adamson, J. B. (1976). The Epistle of James (pp. 144–145). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[4] McKnight, S. (2011). The Letter of James (pp. 286–290). Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, UK: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

[5] Doriani, D. M. (2007). James. (R. D. Phillips, P. G. Ryken, & D. M. Doriani, Eds.) (pp. 111–113). Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing.

[6] Davids, P. H. (2011). James (pp. 83–85). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[7] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of James and the Epistles of John (Vol. 14, pp. 112–113). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.